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Carolina Gold Rice Middlins with Chicken


Chef notes

"What makes a great bring-along dish is a dish that's a bit of a conversation piece. And middlins — they have this really interesting story," chef Mashama Bailey told NPR in 2019. "During slavery, rice … was really one of the biggest profit-producing crops. It was expensive because it was all hand-cultivated by many, many people. And middlins were viewed to have less value, and those broken bits of rice would go to slave workers. So you end up really educating the guests or your friends about an ingredient that they didn't know had so much to do with the history of how rice was grown in this country."


Chicken Stock
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 whole chicken or 3 pounds chicken parts
  • 3 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, roughly chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 8 quarts water
  • salt, to taste
Chicken Middlins
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely diced fennel
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint Carolina Gold Rice Grits
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 tablespoon fennel fronds
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice


For the chicken stock:


Heat a heavy bottom pan. Slice the peeled onion in half and place the cut side face down in the pan. Sear until onion is charred. Place the three cloves into the onions, remove from heat and place in stock pot. Add all remaining ingredients to your pot. Bring to a boil, skim of the white foam from the top and reduce to a simmer. Add a pinch of salt. Cook for 2 to 3 hours.


When chicken is tender and falling off the bones, remove and set aside. When cooled remove meat from the bone. Shred and reserve the meat. Add bones back to the stock and cook for another hour.


Continue to reduce the chicken broth until you have a little more than 3 quarts. Strain, cool and remove fat. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the chicken middlins:


Bring the chicken stock to a simmer with a healthy pinch of salt.


In a separate wide pot, sweat the onions, celery, carrots and fennel in the olive oil until aromatic and translucent. Add a pinch of salt. Add the rice grits and stir to coat and toast in the oil.


Add the white wine and reduce until the pan dries out again. Ladle in 2 cups of the chicken stock and stir over a low simmer. This will cook like a risotto. Let this reduce and get absorbed by the rice. Keep repeating this process until the middlins are just cooked and the stock is absorbed. The rice should be al dente.


Stir in half of the butter and keep stirring as the stock reduces. You want a creamy consistency that slowly settles when spooned into a bowl. When the consistency is close, add the remaining butter and the reserved shredded chicken from the stock, and keep stirring until the chicken is fully folded in.


Off the heat, add the herbs and lemon juice, and divvy up between 4 to 6 warm bowls.